Katy runs an accessories and gift shop and lives on a farm near Regan, North Dakota.
Name: Katy Kassian
City / Town: Regan, North Dakota
Who is your community? This may be a group of friends, organization of affinity or a geographic location.
My community is made up of people who take back roads and byways and small towns and people who advocate for them, small business owners, farmers and ranchers. From artists to seamstresses- when we work together, great ideas happen. Essentially, my community is everywhere!
Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day.
That’s a tough one. I wear many hats. The day starts with focus on the farm. What needs doing today and getting it done, I squeeze in some time for research on small towns, work in my workroom (okay- the spare room) on my burlap creations, write articles or in my blog on small town and rural life, manage the garden (we put up nearly 80% of what we eat) return emails or phone calls from people looking for resources or names. The days get kind of jumbled sometimes.
If you could do any job, what would you do and why?
I would be a speaker/advocate for rural America. Small communities in many states are being left behind or forgotten when we have so much to offer. I would shout it from the roof tops.
What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the OTA region when it comes to your career?
Being able to connect with other creatives and leaders and have access to resources that I otherwise probably would not.
At what intersection do you live your life?
I live at the intersection of Endless possibilities and Keep trying.
Where do you think good ideas come from?
I think good ideas come from everywhere. From people, nature, art ~ inspiration is all around us.
What’s one current trend you think will change the world?
Listening. Unplug and listen. It’s amazing what you learn.
What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?
By just doing and not giving up or giving in. By not being afraid to reach out and ask for help or collaboration.
What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?
Saying there’s always tomorrow. Because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?
I hope to leave a legacy for my children- to never stop pursuing what is important to you. To my rural neighbors, so our small towns are better for the involvement,
Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?
My father was the most connected person in my life. He never met a stranger, and if you ever needed something, he knew literally everyone — what they did, why they did it, and so on. Today, the most connected person in my life is Jo Khalifa. She, too, is quite the people person and in connected to all walks of life. She volunteers tirelessly by mentoring, working with charities, etc., a business woman on a global scale, serves on boards and is a wonderful friend.
Who is the most creative person in your life, and why?
My friend Shannon in Louisiana is the most creative person I know. She can do anything with nearly nothing. Anytime I need a “how do I?” she comes up with the most creative solutions.
Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?
Cyndee Johnson is the most community focused person in my life. She gives selflessly of time and talents. Hosts charity golf tournaments, active in Kiwanis, her church, speaks passionately about how people can work together better, always has a shoulder to lean on and cheers on everybody around her.
How are you invested in your community?
I am not afraid of what people think of my crazy ideas. I know I don’t fit the norm and see the world a little differently. I see ideas and dreams and possibilities. I see ways to get it done and will cheer you on until the end. I don’t have to do the things I do. I do them because I care.
I want to inspire other rural areas to TRY. Sometimes we all need a nudge or a ‘show me’. I can do that.
What project are you pursuing?
The K-8, a series of articles and short videos based on the Kansas Sampler, which outlines the eight elements every community starts with. My goal is to show that even very small communities have these K-8 (even if they think they don’t) and showcase how they can be used to drum up interest.